Thinking of writing a book? I certainly thought about it...a lot! Four years ago while I sat in our rented apartment amidst the handful of furnishings we didn't sell on Craigslist I thought all the time...and then some.
Whether you're psyche transports you to a more fictional world – or whether you believe your truth of picking up dropped coins in the McDonalds drive thru to buy groceries might be inspiring – your brain won't let you sleep at night and your hands grasp for any piece of paper/napkin on which to write your words. You are a writer and perhaps need the validation of becoming an author.
For 2 years I wrote my story. My "narrator," as I call her, was speaking the truth. Truth about my crash landing into motherhood, truth about being "grad school poor" and the truth about where my mind would wander. I thought all the time about publishing, about writing the next "Eat, Pray, Love," and about validating my story. I imagined myself standing in front of a crowd and reading pages from my bound and polished manuscript. It was so real I could taste it.
I found a connection with the editor of the Sartell Newsleader whom I trusted to read my book (which I knew to be wonderful and horrific at the same time). I paid $16 to MinuteMan press to have it all printed on paper and the weight of it was powerful. I handed the 300 pages over to Dennis – who would be the first person to read my words.
"Anything is better than NOT publishing this," he said. Despite the copious amounts of red pen I believed his words were true – because that's the kind of man he is.
Thus the seed was planted and the possibility became real.
I became a desperate seeker of information from local authors who inspired me. I asked Mary Ludington who has a successful coffee table book "The Nature of Dogs," I asked Kent Nerburn and William Kent Krueger – both of whom I considered famous.
I asked them the tough questions: Would you do it the same way if you were to start over? What were you surprised about the publishing world?
I asked them questions that had no answers: Do you think I'll make it? Will anyone read my book besides my mother? Will they let me design my own cover? Will they change my title?
I asked them tacky questions: How much money did you make? What were your publishing contracts like?
They all had answers for me. I was shocked how available these professional authors made themselves.
In an effort to practice brevity in my posts I will end it here...a cliff-hanger if you will...
Tune in to Part 2 to hear their advice and about where I turned next.
Manuscript photo credit: Elizabeth Compton Hegemann's Navaho Trading Days
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